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>> welcome to al jazeera. these are the stories we're working on at this hour. u.n. weapons inspectors are on the ground and under fire in syria. they're there to examine claims of chemical weapon attacks. ash falling like snowflakes from a fire burning out of control in california. >> snipers attacked a group of u.n. inspectors in syria today.
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the incident forced them to turn away from the site. they were shot at by unidentified gunmen fortunately, no one was hurt. what you're looking at here is amateur video that pore ports to show the u.n. team visiting the victims of that suspected chemical weapons attack. ankle's david jackson has been watching the event in syria from beirut, david, what can you tell us about the u.n. inspection going forward after that attack this morning? >> reporter: well, the u.n. inspectors have gone forward from that attack as you mentioned. and yes, they were shooting apparently at the lead vehicle, trying to put it out of commission, which they did do. they are in damascus, to the west side of the city. they've taken blood samples from the survivors of the attack and
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one important thing they have the u.n. team has done is they've taken soil samples trying to determine, to see if they can determine which missiles or which type of missile delivered what they believe to have been a chemical attack, if they can determine what missile launched that attack they might be able to pin blame exactly on where this came from. the fact is the united nations is not there to pin blame on anybody. their inspectors are there to determine if a chemical attack occurred at all. and they're looking at their first look that has gone on in and around the hospital there is. >> the they have been saying too little, too late. is there any case that they are right, the site was contaminated or corrupt? >> reporter: well in indications yet, dell, on that. it's been what they were worried about five days after the
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attack. the other thing that is important to remember, those inspectors were originally sent in following an attack after march and april, so long after the initial suspected chemical attack. this long after march and april, you can imagine the degradation from those, and only five days from this latest attack. for those who are saying too little, too late are amending that somewhat in terms of this latest attack with 355 people killed they might be in time to determine a lot from this. dell? >> david jackson joining us live from beirut with the latest from syria. thank you very much. the obama administration said it has very little doubt that chemical weapons are being used in syria, and that could push the u.s. and its allies to military action.
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general clark spoke to the potential intervention in syria. >> i think the most important thing is to make sure that whatever yo you do militarily hs some purpose to it and moves to the resolution of the situation. there is no pope to firing a weapon or to drop a bomb just to drop a bomb. you have to work around a regional coalition. i think n.a.t.o. and the arab leagues to join together. i think if the u.n. security council cannot act because of block by russia and china, then these regional organizations need to work to end the conflict. >> drums are beating louder in the nation and around the world, what is next? >> reporter: the expectation is
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that there will be military action. that is a dramatic change within 48 hours. let's take you back to friday night. as the pictures of death and suffering continue to stream in, and what the white house says there is little doubt that there was a chemical weapon and they know who is responsible for it, that is bashir al-assad. they said that sunday. but susan rice sent out a tweet that assad needed to allow the u.n. inspectors on site sunday morning. but then they said it was too late and the shelling and bombing that has gone on on the part of the regime has degrade degradedded a corrupted the area to a point that it would do no good. and then we have leading members
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of congress on the foreign affairs committee both republican and democrat both house and senate calling for, quote/unquote surgical strikes speculating about a cruise missile launch, wondering the debate academic, should congress be notified and consulted or shouldn't it? congress incidentally is out on their extended vacation for another week. so we have all of these developments moving and raising the expectation at this point. i should mention consultations with president obama with prime minister cameron of the u.k. and the president of france, needing to stop the deployment of these chemical weapons. it was one year ago this month that president obama laid down that red line clearly now the white house believes that assad has crossed it. >> if i'm reading the tea leaves in washington correctly i'm hearing talk about military intervention, possibly cruise
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missiles being fired from ships, but i haven't mentio heard any n of boots on the ground. >> that was specifically ruled out by the president. he was traveling in up state new york and pennsylvania talking about college tuition. along the way his folks ruled out boots on the ground and we heard from general wesley clark who oversaw the operation in bosnia as a no-fly option, a lot of officials have spoken out public against the practicality of that. what we believe is the most likely outcome of a military is no boots on the drowned. >> military intervention against the assad regime would be extremely dangerous. here's what they had to say. >> we had this moment before in iraq and libya, not a single
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case of military intervention resulted in things improving and life standards improving or stabilization in place. on the contrary it was destabilized in an unprecedented way. >> we have director of carnegie council. >> this tragedy has been going on over a year. 100,000 people killed. the impulse to act is very strong. >> why shouldn't the impulse be strong? we're seeing the image of young children dying from what is obviously a chemical weapons attack. why should the russian
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government be allowed to say let's wait a little bit longer. >> the russian government had in place a fairly reasonable plan to cease arms shipment that would stop the deaths of innocence people, and come to the people for talks without pre-condition. then secretary of state kerry went to moscow, and came away with an agreement a few weeks ago, and that leads into the now silver times postponed geneva peace process that we hope will take place. >> we hear so much, so often the talk of strategic interest in the region. when we talk about syria, what is the strategic interest of syria. >> it's a lot less than russia. syria is a traditional ally of russia and before that the soviet union.
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in terms of the u.s. frankly one-word answer is israel. clearly we ared a concerned, and the spillover that has already taken place from syria, this is a regional conflict. this is not just what happens in syria. what has spilled over into lebanon and iraq with tragic consequences and somewhat in turkey could go beyond the golan heights, and into israel proper. >> i want to you listen to what the united nations secretary general said just a short while ago talking to ankle. by the way the video that you're about to see is amateur footage of inspectors meeting with patients and doctors. listen to this. >> well, it's not just concerning, it's out ja outrage, that the team is there to
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determine if chemical weapons were used that they should come under fire just as they set off on their mission. >> so the inspectors are having a difficult time. there is a diplomatic tug-of-war, what is next? >> first, the russians persuaded them to open up to the inspectors. i heard reports from experts who say that a week or two leaves it vague. let the inspectors do their job. let the report to the extent possible. the two key things here first of all, what was used, sarin gas or some other agent, and oh used it. the delivery system may be determined by the inspector. i think we should let that process follow through now that the--now that it has been initiated and welcomed before
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any suggestion or option for military alps, for example. >> thank you for being with us. >> thank you very much. >> life behind bars or death by lethal injection. that is a decision that a military jury in texas is going to be wrestling with for army major nadal hassan. he was convicted friday in the fort hood shooting spree back in 2009. 13 people killed and 14 people injured in that attack. heidi joe joins us on the fencing face. >> reporter: court is still in session. hassan is in the courtroom, and what stands out most is his demeanor. it's not changed at all since before he was convicted as a mass murderer. now, he is still sitting in that wheelchair. he's dressed in camo uniform.
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he has that beard. and to give you a picture of how unaffected he appears. he got into a brief discussion with the government about how to calculate his initial date in the service with the military. none of the content of that argument really matter, but the fact that he just talked about it like this was any other day, that really stood out. dell, this isn't any other day. this is when this jury, 13 military officers, will determine if he lives or dies. the judge cautioned him not to continue to represent himself. and hassan said he still wants to be his own lawyer. at this point, dell, i don't know if that's any more surprising, again. >> heidi, the question that has to be asked when we talked earlier about this case was the fact that no terrorism charge were brought in this case.
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will the jury take matters in their own hands and do what they think should have been done had this been tried as a terrorist case? >> i think the outcome is still the same. more than likely the death penalty. i think that's what the government has been arguing all along. they didn't charge hassan with terrorism because they wanted a clearcut murder case. so far this has fared out. nohe said he wanted to be a martyr, i don't know what kind of argument there would be. >> reporting live from houston, fort hood texas. roads and campgrounds in yosemite national park were shut down. nearly 134,000 acres have been
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scorched in the wind-driven flames and forced a lot of people there to evacuate. the windy dry conditions remain and that means the fire will continue to spread. 3,000 firefighters are now on the scene trying to save 4500 homes or businesses. those winds have pushed the rim fire close to major roads and highways that surround yosemite. so far the fire is only 7% contained. >> meteorologist: that's right, dell, the fire is only 7% contained, the rim fire, that is. we'll have to continue to deal with plenty of wind across the area as we track into the next 24 hours. as a matter of fact we continue to watch this area. yosemite national park really being neglected by all the moisture pushing out of the south. there is a lot of moisture in the atmosphere. unfortunately a lot of moisture we need is not reaching the ground.
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there are 38 large firefighters burning across the country. 15 of which are in california. they continue to be missed by the moisture that pushes in from the south. we have fires burning across portions of central idaho, and they're looking for a chance of more activity as we track into the next 24 hours due to an area of low pressure that will be pushing across the region bringing gusty winds. from salt lake city and phoenix we'll deal with moderate rainfall if you're traveling i i-10 use caution. we'll continue to monitor this throughout the day. >> thank you very much. millions of kids are going back to school across america. but in chicago that's not that heasy. school closure and violence top parents' concern. we have that coming up in just a moment.
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see you shortly. ♪ [♪ music ] >> welcome back to al jazeera. i'm dell walters. chicago public schools are under the microscope as more than 400,000 children are headed back to class. many of them are attending school under less than desirable circumstances. unfamiliar neighborhoods force
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them to walk through distances of violent and gang-ridden areas. it looks like reading, writing, and risk. what are chicago schools doing for kids who have to walk through these dangerous areas? >> reporter: that's right, dell. the district has established safety routes, as they call them, to help parents navigate through the new receiving schools. they have also employed more than 600 people who will serve on the safe passage routes as people to help them and guide them to the new schools. we saw a couple of them earlier today. they're dressed in the florescent yellow vest. we saw increased patrols by police officers and on foot. but with violence, some parents are worried that the security measures may not be enough. eight-year-old crystal hall expects to meet a lot of new classmates as a third grader.
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>> i'm going to have to make friends all over again. >> reporter: for mom it's a bit more harrowing. >> it's very dangerous around here. that's why even though my daughter is in third grade i still walk her to school. >> reporter: last may in the face of a $1 billion budget shortfall the chicago board chose to close down 49 poorly performing and under utilized schools. the consolidation means kids from different blocks will meet for the first time. >> kids are coming from everywhere. you know, rival gangs, parents don't get along, cousins don't get along, big brothers don't get along. when they see each other it's not about the law. >> reporter: safety is so much of a concern that the city has torn down hundreds of empty houses and boarded of buildings of passenger routes.
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>> you're going to see needles, used condoms and mattresses, you'll see alcohol bottles and where they have been tagged by different gangs. >> reporter: betsy ross elementary has shown sign of improvement, but enrollment dipped under capacity, and they shut it down. reverend andre smith lives across the street the school. >> they're making a good school, a safe school now a warehouse. >> reporter: no longer a place for students it is now a storage place for beat up district furniture. at receiving schools where students have been reassigned new furniture has been moved, and they've been outfitted with wi-fi and air conditioners in every classroom. school officials denied requests to speakic only waiting until
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after the school year begins. >> i don't think a sign will stop a bully. i don't think a sign will stop a fight. >> do you think you're going to be safe. >> yeah, because i'm going to be here to protect you. >> reporter: grown up worries for a little girl headed off to third grade. >> that is from chicago. how did we get here? here is a reminder of how chicago managed to arrive at this miserable condition. just over a month ago chicago school officials announced that 4 public schools would close, 2,000 teachers would be laid off in what is the largest school closing in chicago history. the closure are the result of a $1 billion deficit and $400 million breeze in annual teacher pension payments. and parents say the closures are disproportionate, and harm black students more in those areas where schools have been shut
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down. we go to adam sharky, the chicago teacher union vice president. it seems like this system is failing the students in chicago once again. mr. sharky is the system failing-- >> i'm sorry, i can't make out the question. the mic level is low. >> the question that has to be asked, is the chicago school accept faisystem failing the sth such dismal numbers. >> i think what i understand you're asking me, what the effect of these policies are going to be with safe passage, with the closing schools, whether that is going to be on the people of chicago? you know, i think they'll probably succeed in getting adults out to watch the students move back and forth on these safe passage routes. but the bigger question the affect of laying off 850 school
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employees and 50 schools across the city, and what effect that will have on students among some of the poorest in the country, that's 90,000 students in chicago living in extreme poverty concentrated in the neighborhoods of these schools. >> we heard the talk of a school system that has been 17 years plagued by performance problems. >> well, the teachers come to work every day in these schools. they're really the front line of our educational system dealing with incredible challenges, kids coming to school without food. they often don't know where they're going to be spending the night. over the course of 17 years we've seen really raised educational expectations and standards. when you ask the people who are going into these schools every day to perform miracles, and then don't give them the resources they need to do that
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work it's frustrating for teachers and it's not fair to blame them for what is the systemic failure to support public schools in the u.s. >> mr. sharky. thank you for joining us. we apologize for the problems with the audio. it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami two years ago. japan still trying to determine how to clean up a damaged nuclear power plant which is leaking radioactive water.
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>> u.n. weapons inspectors are combing through the sites of a suspected chemical weapons attack. this shows the inspectors on the ground at work after coming under fire this morning. convicted murderer nadal hassan is back in court in fort hood, texas. he killed 13 people in 2009. the sentencing phase of that trial begins today. ouout of control wildfires are spreading across california. that blaze is edging closer to a reservoir where san francisco gets it's drinking water. japan's government is promising to take urgent action against leaks of radioactive contaminated water. on monday they ordered the operator to improve monitoring and replace tanks that are at
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risk of leaking. at thtepco acknowledged that radioactive water leaked from inside that plant. a push for peace talks between afghanistan and the taliban, karzai was in the capitol city of islamabad meeting with the prime minister of the country. [♪ music ] >> in business news a major deal unfolding in the drug industry. the world's largest bio tech company is buying pharmaceutical the price tag to be $10.4 billion. a cancer drugmaker. the deal would give amgen three approved cancer treatments and several others being tested in
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chemical trials. taking a look at wal wall street. good news for your 401k, the dow was up 30 points. president obama is going to award the medal of honor to staff sergeant carter at house. he will be just the fifth living soldier to receive the medal for actions in the wars. the medal of honor is the most prestigious military award give for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. we want to thank each and every one of you. for joining us today.
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was not me. check us out 24 hours a day on >> muhammad shuvo is about to die. he is severelyyr

Al Jazeera America August 26, 2013 11:00am-11:31am EDT

News/Business. Breaking and in-depth news coverage from America and around the world. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Syria 11, U.n. 8, Dell 6, Us 6, Russia 3, Hassan 3, Texas 3, U.s. 3, California 3, Mr. Sharky 2, United Nations 2, Assad 2, Israel 2, Beirut 2, The U.n. 1, Heasy 1, The City 1, Nadal Hassan 1, Andre Smith 1, Jackson 1
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